Ferrari join Lotus in criticising tyre revisions

2013 Spanish Grand PrixPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Ferrari have added their voice to the criticism of the forthcoming change in tyre compounds at the Canadian Grand Prix.

Pirelli are making alterations to this year’s tyres following the high number of pit stops seen during last weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix.

Ferrari used its anonymous “Horse Whisperer” column on its official website to put forward its objections to the planned change:

“These are difficult times for people with poor memories. Maybe it’s because of the huge amount of information available today that people are too quick to talk, forgetting things that happened pretty much in the recent past. Or maybe the brain cells that control memory only operate selectively, depending on the results achieved on track by their owners.

“A classic example of this is the current saga regarding the number of pit stops. Voices have been raised to underline the fact that various teams, some of whom got to the podium and others who were quite a way off, made four pit stops in the recent Spanish Grand Prix, making the race hard to follow.

“It’s a shame that these worthy souls kept quiet two years ago when, at the very same Catalunya Circuit and on the Istanbul track, five of the six drivers who got to those two podiums made exactly the same number of pit stops as did Alonso and Massa last Sunday in the Spanish Grand Prix.

“In fact, there’s nothing new about winning a race making so many pit stops, even discounting those where it was down to changeable weather. One only has to look back to 2004, when Michael Schumacher won the French Grand Prix thanks to what was a three stop strategy, later changed to a four stopper. That was the key which allowed the multiple champion’s F2004 to get ahead of the then Renault driver, Fernando Alonso, who made three stops. And on that day and we remember it well, our strategy and the tyre supplier were showered with praise for allowing us to get the most out of the car.

“Today however, it seems one must almost feel ashamed for choosing a strategy that, as always for that matter, is aimed at getting the most out of the package one has available. On top of that, if this choice emerges right from the Friday, because all the simulations are unanimous in selecting it, then why on earth should one feel embarrassed when compared to those who have gone for a different choice, only to regret it during the race itself.”

Lotus team principal Eric Boullier also criticised the tyre compounds change yesterday.

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181 comments on “Ferrari join Lotus in criticising tyre revisions”

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  1. This is the only ti me I’ll probably ever say this: the Horse Whisperer is AWESOME.

    1. Looking at the response on Twitter, everyone suddenly seems to like him :D

      1. @wallbreaker who said it was a “him”? ;)

    2. I’m not a big Ferrari fan, but I do love the way they address the press and public. Its refreshing to hear honest opinions about things rather than PR.

    3. Red Bull criticized 2013 Pirellis even when Vettel won… I think that’s consistency unlike what Ferrari is trying to say.

    4. @bendana yes, I do very much like the way “it” bascially called F1 fans stupid, despite having a complete lack of foresight itself. Very awesome.

  2. I’m agreeing with the Horse Whisperer. The world is coming to an end.

    1. Maybe the brain cells that control the horse whisperer’s memory also forget that unlike 2011, this years race was run on the two hardest tyre compounds available to the supplier… hence the need to remake the tyres.

      1. Maybe the brain cells that control the horse whisperer’s memory also forget that unlike 2011, this years race was run on the two hardest tyre compounds available to the supplier… hence the need to remake the tyres.

        Agreed that the choices for Barcelona 2013 were the two hardest available for the season. But they were much softer than those two corresponding sets of 2011. Hard tyres of 2013 are comparable to Mediums of 2012 and Medium tyres of 2013 are comparable to Softs of 2012. I guess the Horse Whisperer isn’t the one whose memory is failing..

        1. Hard tyres of 2013 are comparable to Mediums of 2012

          I know all that my brain cells are perfectly fine thank you. My point is that in 2013 there are no harder tyres to turn to. In 2012, if the medium tyre was too soft for a particular race then the hard could be allocated instead.

          As there is no ‘super-hard’ tyre this year comparable to the 2012 ‘hard’, the tyres need to be remade. Understood?

          1. @john-h +1 again – my reasoning exactly which I think some are failing to grasp.

          2. Also, two years ago tires were not at risk of delaminating and actually delaminating. Ferrari is being disingenuine because the tires are different from two years ago…obviously so. To try to bring it down to it being about a silly argument about number of pit stops and people not liking to see 4 is, as I say, disingenuine. It’s about the affect these tires are having on the racing in general, and if Ferrari weren’t one of the few teams that seem to have no problem with these tires, they’d be just as vocal about wanting change.

          3. Let’s be honest here, supposing we’ll put ourselves in the shoes of Lotus or Ferrari, how would you feel?
            You made a car that’s gentle on its tyres and because of that you currently have the upper hand. Now you’ve been informed that Pirelli will change the tyres because majority of the teams are complaining. Will you just accept it wholeheartedly?

            The thing is, the other teams just can’t accept the fact that Ferrari or Lotus made a better job than them. Instead of complaining, they should focus their energy in improving their car.

          4. I just think that is easier said than done. Obviously if the tires were relatively ‘normal’ and weren’t delaminating and causing most teams this much grief, then they would likely agree with you that it is just up to them to improve the car. We don’t normally see this much conversation on this topic in a season, especially this early. Normally the tires aren’t so different or peculiar in their behaviour and the teams accept that they have to improve how their car/tire relationship works. Normally a tire maker doesn’t announce mid-season that they have to change the tires. And FA admitted he was driving at 90% for Spain. If he had had to drive 100% in order to defend to win, perhaps his tires would have failed him, he wouldn’t have had the win, and Ferrari would be with RBR in their complaints.

            Also, I don’t think Ferrari and Lotus are ‘gentle’ on the tires. Maybe just slightly moreso than the other teams, but I would bet that they too would like to be on better tires…it’s just that while they seem to have a bit of an advantage, why would they want that changed, even if they’d much prefer that they themselves wouldn’t have to put so much effort into the tire issue.

            I think teams are always ready to accept when other teams have done a better job. It seems that already this year some teams feel handcuffed by the tires this time, to do a better job.

            Bottom line for me…I understand Ferrari and Lotus not wanting to accept quietly that the Pirellis will be changed, but there seems to be overwhelming evidence that they need to be. And I don’t believe for a second that if it was Ferrari that was suffering they’d just be quiet and put their noses to the grindstone and improve the car. They too would be shouting from the highest mountain, especially since they have enjoyed veto power over the rule changes in the past, so they know full well how to be the squeaky wheel and get things moulded to favour themselves.

          5. Misteryoso, lets think of it this way though: put yourselves in the shoes of a fan of any team and can you honestly say the race in Barcelona was exciting and that these tyres are completely safe? I can’t.

          6. @vettel1, think of it this way though: can you honestly say that the race in Barcelona would have been more exciting had RBR righted on the strategy given the conditions? can you say that the “drastic changes” comment Ross Brawn made after the race were not directed at Hamilton for his utter negative to follow team instructions even under the light that the car has been tailored to his liking, specially in the sensitive area of rear brakes? Because I can. On both accounts.

          7. @faulty I can understand that obviously the complaints from Red Bull and Mercedes were obviously louder because they were unduly affected, however I don’t think they are wrong. If I put my F1 fan hat on, I didn’t enjoy that race and I now think these tyres are dangerous, so the change is an absolute must from my F1 fan’s perspective and only more so from my RBR fan’s perspective!

      2. @Misteryoso : I remember Ferrari complaining about the 2003 Michelin tires after race 13, which where than changed in favor of Ferrari, which gave Schumi his title. You don’t see the horse whisperer telling that.

        1. am i wrong or FIA declared the Michelin tires illegal that year ?

          1. @nomore

            Diffirent story then, as firstly then not everyone had the same tyre unlike here, and there the Michelin groves flattened to near them as sleeks.

  3. Good points made by our anonymous Horse Whisperer. Surprising, though, that it didn’t mention the obvious political intent of the rule change, which is to help Red Bull. Normally our anonymous correspondent isn’t too reticent about drawing those conclusions.

    1. It reads almost like a comment from a completely sane person now, is this the same person?

      Sure enough Niki Lauda has joined in the voices being happy about the change (surprise, surprise?).

    2. Who wants to help Red Bull? FIA?

  4. The situation is ridiculous – it is a jump into the unknown, spoiling the current status, mocking at the efforts made by large number of people, potentially changing the future champion, and last but not least, the cost put into those cars.

    Ferrari and Lotus may go well with the ‘new’ tires, but they have all the rights in the world to be unhappy.
    I once again read Tech regulations Article 12.6.3:

    Tyre specifications will be determined by the FIA no later than 1 September of the previous season. Once determined in this way, the specification of the tyres will not be changed during the Championship season without the agreement of all competing teams.

    1. The situation is ridiculous

      That sums it up very well. I do agree with Ferrari’s anonymous voice on some points, but on the other hand: Ferrari must have agreed with the compound changes – same goes for Lotus by the way – else the regulations wouldn’t have allowed the compounds to be changed. If they truly disagree with the compound changes they should have vetoed the decision, not criticize it afterwards.

      1. @andae23 May be there was no need for all teams to agree for such change, perhaps as noted by @keithcollantine below. So that vindicates both Ferrari and Lotus then.

      2. I’m confused, but let’s put it like this: if Ferrari and Lotus have had the opportunity to veto the decision, then my point still stands. If not, then ignore my comment :P

        1. It was not decided by Vote.
          The decision was made after Dietrich Mateschitz discussed with Bernie Ecclestone for 40 mins after the Spanish Gp.
          Ferrari and Lotus had no voice, will it be realistic that they have agreed and then make such comments….
          and again Ferrari and Lotus have not agreed in any change.

    2. @kiril-varbanov This is not the first time the tyres have been altered mid-season without that rule being an issue. If you read the entire article 12.6 (here’s the PDF) you’ll see the regulations refers to the physical dimensions of the tyres which are not being changed.

      1. @keithcollantine I’m not sure that’s true: 12.6.1 and 12.6.2 refer to wet weather tyres only, not to dry compounds. In that respect, it’s a bit weird that 12.6.3 is a part of 12.6, because the two points seem unrelated.

        It also depends on what you define as ‘tyre specification’: dimension (static/dynamic) or compound? In 12.5.2 they also mention tyre specifactions, which (as I read it) refer to both dimension and compound.

        So it’s all I bit confusing… which is probably on purpose.

        1. @andae23 maybe FIA decided to bring ‘safety’ into the issue, and forced all the teams to bow.

      2. @keithcollantine – Thanks for the link, the articles talk about wet tires alone.
        Again, we hit the problem of how to read the rules – as the Devil would read the Bible or straightforward. If it’s the latter, then I would assume that 12.6.3 “Tyre specifications…” talks about all types of tires. If, however, this addendum refers to the parent chapter, judging by the numbering convention, the phrase would apply for wet tires only, which would explain why Lotus and Ferrari haven’t had the chance to veto the decision.

        The biggest problem is that the championship is likely to be decided by a single move from the tire manufacturer. Is that fair? I don’t think so, and I’m not saying this because I’m a Lotus or Ferrari supporter – I love all teams (OK, almost) on the grid.

      3. we know that. In the 2003 season michelin made wider tyres, and ferrari when they felt the threat at the end of the season, used their might to make the ilegal. Now it’s red bull the ones using their influence. I hated it then, and i don’t like it now. same old same old. All the team really want is total world domination, no matter what.

      4. Was the rule tirggered in 2002 when Ferrari got Williams’s front tires outlawed, because of their supposed dimensional variance from the rules?

        1. but they only talked about the tyres when they felt the championship was at stake at the end of the season, while the michelin tyres were used since the begining. vey smilar to red bull now. They saw ferrari walk the spanish gp, and now they consider 4 stops a sin for the sport, while last year they didn’t when they took the top step of the rostrum. A clear example of f1 double standars. same old same old

    3. This one is the interesting one for me:

      12.5.2 If, in the opinion of the appointed tyre supplier and FIA technical delegate, the nominated tyre specification proves to be technically unsuitable, the stewards may authorise the use of additional tyres to a different specification.

      That would seem to conflict with article 12.6.3 thought stating that all the teams have to agree to the changes (if we assume specification includes compounds which I’m sure it does), unless Pirelli have more veto power as the supplier than the teams if the technical delegate consents to the changes?

  5. Standing ovation to the Horse Whisperer. Chris Horner (Red Bull Racing) and Paul Hembery (Pirelli) should be ashamed of themselves!!!!

    1. A bunch of hypocrites they are, RBR. Nothing else. Horner, Marko, Vettel just to name a few.
      They fight on the track (which is expected), but also off the track.
      Just hope they lose swiftly and badly off track…

      1. Hypocrites? You mean like Ferrari who have enjoyed designer tires in the past, along with unlimited testing of said tires, along with veto power over rule changes. It’s a bit rich for you to call out RBR solely, like they are the only ones who have ever fought off the track to try to improve themselves. Ferrari have won Championships this way, only with far more weight thrown at F1 than RBR has.

      2. @commendatore
        And the others doesn’t fight off track?
        This is just Ferrari and Lotus defending their strengths. Where was Lotus and Ferrari when FIA banned the EBD a few years ago in the middle of the season? I don’t remember them shouting about how unfair it was. Now they do because it will supposedly take away one of their main advantages over Red Bull.

  6. Ferrari are right even if it’s not hard to see the reasons for their ‘good memory’ – they have won two of the last three races and probably wouldn’t be as competitive with more durable tyres.

    I personally don’t think it’s a problem if drivers have to make four stops per race and I also don’t mind if they change their less sensitive tyres only twice. But I believe that the permanent changes to the tyre compounds and allocations are hurting F1. It makes me feel that the rules of the game get manipulated to maintain ‘the perfect show’ for fans all the time and to make sure that Pirelli get as much PR value as possible, namely, that they get a lot of publicity but not too much negative publicity.

    I believe that the compounds and the allocations for all 19 races should be set before the start of the season and changed only if there are safety reasons to do that. The current system just cannot be fair, even if Pirelli don’t intend to favour or hurt any particular team.

  7. What tyre rule change? Isn’t the only rule about their dimensions?

  8. Results Barcelona 2011 when RedBull with Vettel just had a walk through the seasson to win with over 120 points to 2nd:

    1. Vettel – 4 pit stops
    2. Ham – 4
    3. Button – 3
    4. Webber – 4
    5. Alo – 4

    2011 – Total pit stops: 77 with 21 cars finishing
    2013 – Total pit stops: 81 with 19 cars finishing

    1. You are right @chemakal but the problem is :

      These are difficult times for people with poor memories. Maybe it’s because of the huge amount of information available today that people are too quick to talk, forgetting things that happened pretty much in the recent past. Or maybe the brain cells that control memory only operate selectively, depending on the results achieved on track by their owners

      The problem is for certain people “the brain cells that control memory only operate selectively, depending on the results”
      These people really don’t care about Pits & Tires but just if their favorite driver(or team) wins or lose…these people (in a small number thanks to god…) now they like changing the tires with the hope that their favorite driver(or team) Wins

      The races are equal, the Humans brain NOT…this is the problem

      1. I think objectivey as an F1 fan though in situations like these and I honestly can’t see how the race in 2011 and this year are comparable. They could’ve used the medium in 2011 whereas in 2013 they were already using the hardest tyre available. The racing was also still present in 2011 as Hamilton proved but that can’t be said of 2013.

        Most of all though, the tyres do need to be changed on grounds of safety which is the main reason for the change here – the compounds are just a secondary aspect and have been changed in previous seasons: it’s not unique to now.

        1. @vettel1
          I think that you are in the group of “certain fans”…so there is no need to discuss between us.

          1. @nomore how very presumptuous of you. I haven’t changed my tone I will have you find: if a trawl through the pre-race comments of Bahrain I’ll happily find you some of my tyre criticisms from then: they aren’t as vocal because the situation wasn’t as bad (after all, Perez and Button was a good battle and there were plenty more, which I can’t say of Spain).

            I’m supporting Pirelli’s decision because I think the racing is suffering because of it (something they themselves agree with). I can’t say, from any perspective, that I liked the racing in the Spanish GP. Also, another point to raise is that why the assumption it will benefit Red Bull? We simply won’t know until they run the new tyres. Even at that, Red Bull can’t change the tyres by themselves: only Ferrari have that amount of political power…

          2. @vettel1
            So basically for you Bahrain was good racing but Barcelona not….understood.
            I guess Malaysia too was good racing ?…China ? no, no, that was a boring race..
            Australia ? so, so i guess quali was good, race not.
            I get the hole picture Now..:)

            If Ferrari had that political power do you seriously think that the tires would have changed ?

          3. @nomore, Max’s pen-name @vettel1 does suggest a bias but nomore so than @commendatore, so let’s try to have a sensible balanced conversation; no-one is keener than me to see someone other than SV win this years championship but I hate what these tyres have done to F1, I would prefer NO pitstops, but I concede that changing tyres mid-season is problematic and I find the introduction in Canada where the softest tyres have been selected really wierd as the option to go “harder” without a change to tyre spec would seem to be the logical solution. Hopefully next year we can have the new powertrains as our main talking point and getting the best out of the tyres will mean setting the shortest time around the track and not the longest time between pit-stops.

          4. @nomore Again with the presumptuousness. I thought the race in China was good apart from the lack of a battle out front (same criticism as Bahrain) and the fact the soft tyres self-destructed in about 6 laps. Malaysia was a bit excessive but nowhere near as bad as Spain for as we saw they were still able to push (Mark and Seb). Australia I thought was a rather damp squib and turned into too much of a strategy battle but my judgement was skewed from getting up at around 5 in the morning (D:).

            Australia qualifying was pretty poor also for the fact it was delayed endlessly.

            If Ferrari had that political power do you seriously think that the tires would have changed ?

            That’s not what I’m saying at all: what I’m saying is Ferrari have more political power than Red Bull so therefore as you have said if Ferrari couldn’t prevent the changes then Red Bull definitely couldn’t force the changes.

        2. Horner after Vettel’s 2011 BCN win with 4 stops: “It was an incredible race, a great show for the fans and we did an incredible work as a team and we deserved to win. I think the fans enjoyed that very much”

          Horner after Alonso’s win in Spain 2013 with 4 stops: “4 pit stop are too much. The tyres are destroying the race. Ask everyone. We are not going to the speed of the car but to the speed of the tires We have the best car”

        3. I have to agree after watching the last couple of races.

          These tyres are dangerous. I don’t what Pirelli might say, a delamination at high speed is plain dangerous. It doesn’t matter if the tyre deflates or not, the loss of grip is dangerous enough in itself in any given situation.

          Furthermore the tyres are too marginal. The difference between getting it 99% right and spot on is too big. We have seen that in China, Bahrain and now Spain. The winners have been totally dominant and have had a lot more speed in reserve. In addition to this we have seen very little racing. We have seen a lot of overtaking, but sadly most of them remind me of passing other cars on the highway.

          I could live with the ultra sensitive tyres. But the safety issue is too much.

      2. @nomore How rich… Don’t make ill advised judgements about people you have never seen or talked to. I could twist what you said and state that people who are supporting Ferrari so vehemently in this issue are just fans who want to keep the status quo as it is so that they favourite team/driver could keep winning.

        Do I support Vettel? Yes, I do. But I also support Raikkonen to the same measure, and I want these tyres to be changed, not because Vettel isn’t winning (because he is), but because the races have been boring to me, particularly Barcelona, which I didn’t watch beyond lap 22.

        1. @guilherme
          The hole race was interesting for me, but 2011 was boring

          1. @nomore then who is in the “certain people” category then? Here is the rate the race thread for the 2011 race and here it is for the 2013 race: note how almost everyone disagrees with you there.

      3. So Ferrari likes the tyre because they won? So, in this regard, Reb Bull deserves more respect because they criticized the tyres when they won….

          1. -1. Clearly a RB fan post.

          2. @r3mxd me saying “clearly the opinion of a Ferrari fan” holds as much validity. Can we please stop with the petty feuds and actually discuss what we think is best for F1, without having to bring fandom into it?

  9. FlyingLobster27
    17th May 2013, 10:27

    There’s a difference between doing 4 stops because the tyres won’t physically allow you to do less, and doing 4 stops to show off just how ridiculously dominant your car is. (although given how plain bored I was in that era, I’m probably so cynical I miss how genial it actually was)
    While I understand the criticism of the envisaged compound change, there is still an issue that Pirelli have to address, and that’s the fragility of their tyres. After Bahrain and Spain, two races in which the Reds had punctures under perfectly normal racing conditions, one would have thought that they would be calling for some change.

  10. Didn’t get the fuss about too much pit stops. RB got in 3 times, Fer 4. It’s never been said that 3 stops is the absolute max for normal racing, like the horse whisperer says; there are lots of examples.

    I think what makes most people uneasy is the fact that it is hard for drivers out there to get everything out of their cars. But, of course we must consider the fact that there has always been such problems inherent with the formula’s concept. For example in the past Ferrari took a lot of years to adapt to the thought that Aero package is just as important as engine weight/power and endurance. Protesting such matters is almost like protesting someone else had a better car. These matters can get really messy discussions with whims of nostalgia and romanticizing instead of acknowledging the true facts of F1; Like sir Williams has said: It’s always a package of driver, engine, aerodynamics and tires. If you eat up your tires like sand cakes, and someone else is driving faster on them letting them live, you’re simply doing something wrong. If they all decide to change the tire specs for next season to make it easier on them another element of the Williams 4 will pop up and give rise to discussion. In former years it was RB that solely seemed able to deliver a really competitive aero package. Let’s hope the rules change of next year changes the character of the sport again to engines and reliability. Not because there’s some sort of ideal F1 character, but because it’s the fluidity and changeability of the sport that is most interesting, the thought that only on track we can see what has proven right or wrong.

    1. @killertofu said:

      I think what makes most people uneasy is the fact that it is hard for drivers out there to get everything out of their cars.

      This sums it up for me…

      1. its been like that in the past. The turbos were fuel sensitive and they may well be again.

        If they cruise on both fuel and tyres in 2014 they will be going so slow we will need a egg timer get them round.

      2. ChimpSafari
        17th May 2013, 13:34

        Absolutely agree with this point. It’s not about doing 4 stops because you decided to push hard, but doing 4 stops because even with coasting and tiptoing around corners, it’s as long as you can make a tyre last for. They may aswell be driving GP2 cars because they can’t fully use the cars that they’re driving.

        I watched the race with a friend that isn’t into F1 and had to hide my shame when LH said, in what is supposed to be the world’s pemier racing series, “I can’t drive any slower”.

  11. What I didn’t like last week was seeing even the drivers on 4 stops not being able to push 100%. But I don’t actually see any issue with there being 4 stops- clearly that’s happened before without so much complaining, so I don’t understand why people are taking issue and saying ‘it’s too much’ now.

    1. At least for ferrari they are able to push their car more than those with 3 stop

      1. And yet even the winner FA said he was driving at 90%. Had he really had to push, the result might have been dead tires that would have seen him lose places and the race.

        1. he actually DID push. I’m glad he didn’t push 100% else Vettel might have been lapped and RB would of cried Tyres and possible car regs.

    2. Ferraris reference to MS winning was disingenuous as 4 stops were used to keep MS lightly fuelled and running qualifying times to win, somebody please post the fastest lap times for that race and the difference will be clear.

  12. Today however, it seems one must almost feel ashamed for choosing a strategy that, as always for that matter, is aimed at getting the most out of the package one has available

    THIS ! Horse Whisperer is right ths time, as difficult that is to believe.

    1. I would suggest that what The Horse Whisperer doesn’t get into is WHY this seems to be todays’s reality as they suggest. What has changed then THW? Answer that. All they do is compare to two years ago when the tires were different. That’s not good enough. There is obviously a storm brewing this year that wouldn’t exist if they were on 2011 tires.

      Also, I would suggest to Ferrari/THW that most teams did not CHOOSE a strategy that seems ‘shameful’ (their wording). THEY HAD NO CHOICE, such are today’s tires.

  13. It needed saying. Bravo to the Horse Whisperer, Ferrari and Lotus. Its farcical that they are being punished because Bernie’s golden boys are struggling to win at a canter despite leading the WDC & WCC.

  14. Well I’m tired of all this tyre talk, it seems to be the only subject in F1 these past couple of years and from a personal point of view the way I see it is the faster degrading the tyre the less “Hamilton magic” we get, and that’s what I watch F1 for.

    Gone are the days when drivers in F1 used to race each other, this is now an expensive game of tyre management chess where strategy takes centre stage and speed is just something that’s needed for a minute or two on Saturday’s, but I’ll still watch it all the same I have ever done, they would have to change it to a series with no cars to make me think twice about tuning in.

    1. @rob-wilson

      Gone are the days when drivers in F1 used to race each other

      Tell me one era where we saw drivers racing flat-out for the whole Grand Prix distance.

      1. 1950-2010

        1. incorrect.

          Do you really think they were flat out the whole race?

          1. It is not about going flat out for the whole race even though only those with a substantial lead had the luxury of backing off, what it is about is being able to RACE the car ahead or behind for the whole race.

        2. I think that you are mistaken if you think that every driver drove to the limit in every race for much more than a decade at most.

          For a start, you neglect the fact that, in the 1980’s, the restrictions on fuel consumption meant that the drivers could not drive flat out for an entire race distance because they would run out of fuel. Brundle himself refers to that era as “the economy run” era because they had to drive to a target fuel consumption level during the race.
          Going too fast too early on ran the risk of running out of fuel early, at worst, and, at best, having to turn the engine boost level to its lowest setting much earlier on in a race and being very vulnerable to those who had saved enough fuel.

          Before that, there are other instances of drivers not driving flat out – Andretti stated that he never drove the Lotus 79 flat out because it was far too fragile to do that, whilst Scheckter admitted that, at some street tracks, he would intentionally take a slower line that avoided the worst bumps on the track because the shock loading on the transmission of the 312T4 left it vulnerable to failures. Senna said that one of the most important skills of a racing driver was to be able to balance the desire to push and the need to conserve the car, and Prost was famed for his mechanical sympathy and ability to conserve the car – for example, during the 1989 Brazilian GP, he had to rely on being able to conserve the car and its tyres because of clutch problems in order to finish on the podium in that race. Even before that, back in the 1960’s it was not uncommon for drivers to have to ease off on engine revs or on their brakes, given the relatively high failure rates of those components at the time.

          It is only really in the last decade, roughly, that pushing to the absolute limit became possible because of the introduction of long lifespan components, improved quality control monitoring and the introduction of mid race refuelling stops, which were designed to push drivers towards pushing harder for longer.

          1. No-one ever became a Champion by settling for mid-pack finishes all season, only those fast enough to get well ahead could afford to conserve the car, the rest had to drive flat out to avoid falling down the order, which is why so many engines , geaboxes and brakes failed.

        3. Err nope drivers has always had to go slower and look after their cars, as they used to break down a lot and it was sometimes a matter of life and death. Drivers also used to go slower so that they could safe fuel. Even in the refueling era drivers would try to safe fuel during a stint, and only do one or two fast laps at the end of the stint so that they could leapfrog others in the pits. Also engines and gearboxes have to last much longer, so drivers are often taking it slow after their last pitstop in a race. Give people 2 stop races and you will soon see teams pushing trying to conserve tyres to do one stop races. There is always reasons to conserve something on the car, the key is to push as much as possible with the limitations that you have.

          How where cars racing each other before? Even a car had a 2 sec. advantage per lap then the car in front of him, he could not get pass. Follow the leader isn’t exactly racing. And there really isn’t much middle ground, we have been seeing lots of variations in strategies this season. That is exactly what you need otherwise we go back to processional racing. As soon as everyone are just doing one or two stops, there will not be enough variables, and we will be back to following the leader in circles.

          1. What would they gain if there were no stops ? that is why no stops is my favourite era.

        4. @rob-wilson
          I hope for your sake, that from now on, you start following Formula One the sport, rather than Formula One: Lewis Hamilton’s occupation.

          1. @wsrgo Don’t be condescending, I’m a Hamilton fan, always will be, not about to change on your terms.

          2. @rob-wilson I’m saying: if Hamilton decided to move away from F1 and start a career in rap music, would you turn away from F1 too?

      2. agreed.

        A driver is never at 100% (except on qualifying) with the car on races. Why? every F1, you have to manage your engine, gearbox, tyres, brakes, etc. There is always something to manage hence throwing your “100%” out the window.

        1. @r3mxd never this much. On the flipside, have we ever before had drivers simply giving up positions because they have been told not to push? Sure there has always been something to conserve, but not this much and that’s what’s ruining the racing.

    2. the less “Hamilton magic” we get, and that’s what I watch F1 for.

      Soooooooooo basically you don’t like the current rules because Hamilton isn’t winning.

      Gone are the days when drivers in F1 used to race each other

      Because Schumacher running away with every race while everyone else was queuing behind one another and waiting to jump each other during the put stops was definitely pure racing.

      1. Alright fair enough, 1950-2011

        1. Again, I repeat what I mentioned earlier – there are numerous examples of drivers who openly stated that they did not drive to the limit throughout the races because the cars could not take the strain put on them. Why do you think that many drivers in the past adopted the mantra of “win at the slowest possible speed” (a policy that Stewart was a strong advocate of, and it certainly didn’t hinder his success rate at all)?
          If you really want to go back to the early days of the sport, back in the 1950’s, orders to tell drivers to slow down were accepted as normal in an era when reliability was so variable (there are examples of Neubauer, the head of Mercedes-Benz’s racing team, holding up the board instructing his drivers to slow down and hold position in multiple races).

          That is not to say that the drivers were necessarily slacking off, more that they accepted that there were practical limitations to how fast they could push in order to avoid pit stops for tyres (such as Moss in the 1959 Italian GP, where his strategy relied on him driving carefully in order to preserve his tyres and avoid a pit stop), minimise the need to refuel and generally ensure that the car got to the end of the races in one piece. It is only really in the “sprint” era with high speed refuelling stops that the mentality of going flat out came about, so it is a much more modern concept than you seem willing to accept.

          1. Well said Anon. It’s very rare case that drivers could drive flat out over a season, never mind a decade. You just knocked out the 80s with Senna and Prost,70s with Andretti, 50s with your examples of Moss.

            If the top teams couldn’t drive flatout in their respective decades, chances are the rest of the grid couldn’t either. I’m of the opinion, it would be hard to make a case for flatout driving for more than 5-6 years in succession in any decade or even any combination of decades chronologically. Meaning you can’t take years and just clump them together.

  15. It’s a shame that these worthy souls kept quiet two years ago when, at the very same Catalunya Circuit and on the Istanbul track, five of the six drivers who got to those two podiums made exactly the same number of pit stops as did Alonso and Massa last Sunday in the Spanish Grand Prix.

    That was on the soft and the hard, not the medium and the suppsodely hardened hard.

    “In fact, there’s nothing new about winning a race making so many pit stops, even discounting those where it was down to changeable weather. One only has to look back to 2004, when Michael Schumacher won the French Grand Prix thanks to what was a three stop strategy, later changed to a four stopper. That was the key which allowed the multiple champion’s F2004 to get ahead of the then Renault driver, Fernando Alonso, who made three stops.

    That strategy was through choice – it wasn’t forced upon them by tyres which couldn’t last much longer.

    1. The blockquote should be on the third paragraph, not the 4th!

    2. Ferrari’s strategy in Barcelona to stop four time was choice, it wasn’t forced upon them as shown by other teams stopping only three times. In both 2004 and 2013 Ferrari made their strategy work to win the race fair and square. All of the teams have the same tyres; Ferrari should be congratulated on working out how to get the best out of them.

    3. The Soft tyre from previous years is supposedly broadly the same spec as this years Medium, all the tyres have been made softer, not harder. The case is completely comparable.

      1. Sorry, should be @vettel1

    4. That was on the soft and the hard, not the medium and the suppsodely hardened hard.

      The excuse from the energy drink company is that the fans are confused by the number of pit stops which is the same in 2011 & 2012 , they didn’t talk about tyre allocation so that’s why this example is relevant for those who has short or maybe selective memory

      1. It’s not just the ‘fans being confused’. Red Bull’s main gripe is that they are driving at 80% (or whatever) of the car (by that I mean engine, gearbox, brakes, you know all that stuff that isn’t the tyres, not just aero).

        I can’t believe I’m defending Red Bull for speaking their mind about the tyres against an apparent wave of Ferrari and Lotus love. Blame Bernie and the FIA, not Red Bull for trying to persuade them.

        The irony of all these Ferrari fans up in arms about the RBR playing F1 politics and getting their way is ridiculous.

        1. @john-h +1!

          @jerseyf1 they aren’t the same at all: in 2004 Schumacher I do believe was doing qualifying laps essentailly for the whole race, not nursing the tyres. Also, it was entirely possible for Schumacher to do a one stop if the tanks allowed – if Alonso did the same his tyres would’ve delaminated!

          @tifoso1989 It’s not though: soft and hard is entirely different from medium and hard: I don’t agree with RBR’s reasoning but I think that is a more valid point. The hardest tyres should be lasting longer than this!

          1. @vettel1 I generally agree with what you say, Max, because our views are similar on most counts. But here I must differ from you. Red Bull say “fans can’t understand anything..”, who gives them the right to talk about fans? They aren’t fans. Not all fans are having problems. Not all pundits(Coulthard, Buxton, Scarbs) are having problems. That was, I believe just an excuse they had to give so that it didn’t appear they were trying to lobby Pirelli to take away the disadvantage they were facing.

          2. @wsrgo I can’t find the bleeping comment annoyingly, but that’s one thing I don’t agree with that Red Bull have said: I don’t like commentators or anybody telling us we can’t understand what’s happening as I can fully understand thank you very much! I do however agree that four stops is too much, which is the respect in which I agree with RBR (and Pirelli) on the hardest tyres in the range.

          3. @wsrgo ah it’s right above here, in reply to tifoso’s comment!

            “The excuse from the energy drink company is that the fans are confused by the number of pit stops”

            “I don’t agree with RBR’s reasoning

      2. Fans are confused is the weakest excuse ever. Fair enough if you were watching your first ever GP but if Sundays race was really that confusing I suggest you try watching something else that’s a little easier on your mind.

        I’d recommend high school sports like cross country or rounders and try and work your way up from there…

        1. @davef1 if in reply to me, I’ve now highlighted that was something I didn’t agree with.

        2. +1.

          F1 is not for the fans. fans think F1 is for them just like the very narrow minded people of my country still thinks NASA is for the people and science.

    5. It’s very sad that it has come to this and now everyone has to live with it whether they like it or not… the point and fact is Lotus is losing the advantage that they’ve had for doing their homework well or adapting well which ever you prefer. All the teams had and have the same amount of time to develop their cars to suit the tires and things have always been this way I just don’t understand why there is all of a sudden a need to change mid way in the season.

      By the way have specs for anything ever been changed mid season before or the rules. I ask because I cannot think of a time and I’m not at all suggesting that it has never happened it would be interesting i think to know whether this has been done before because if it has then the teams should know that there is a possibility of change of specs or rules mid season so should really not be disappointed when it does happen.

      1. If at first you don’t succeed, moan about the tyres and get them changed. A sad day for the sport.

  16. I don’t have problem with the number of pit stops. What i dislike about the current situation is drivers with fresh tyres driving gently sparing them. It’s not cool, it’s boring. We saw great races last year with only one stop and full throttle all the way, we saw 4 stops breath taking race in Canada 2011 (6 stops for the winer counting penalties). The quality of the race is decided by the driving, not by the pits. And there wasn’t much driving so far besides aiming target times. Right now there is no car able to go full throttle in few consecutive laps and this is the problem.

    1. +1. Exactly this. Finally somebody makes me believe I’m not taking crazy pills.

      1. Exactly…which is why Ferrari’s comments on THW are disingenuine. Anybody actually believe that Ferrari would not be just as vocal as RBR or any other team if the shoe were on the other foot? They’d have brought the hammer down by now in a far stronger way than RBR has.

  17. I’m not going to weigh in on the tyre issues. I just want to say that the French GP in 04 was one of MSC’s great drives.

    1. True. Like the three-stopper which won him the Hungarian GP of 1998, the pit strategy was only part of the story. It was the incredible pace he kept up, lap after lap, that handed him both of those victories.

      1. Right. The fact that he could go flat out, between stops, exerting his superior skill and concentration, is what made the race great. Today, Schumacher, on the same four-stop schedule, would still be pussy-footing around the track, several seconds off his maxium pace. So this Magny Cours example is rather a very good argument AGAINST Ferrari’s current comments.

  18. The Horse Whisperer is talking about ’04 French GP but the biggest difference is that in that 4 stopper race, MSC was able to go flat out all through the race whereas in the ’13 Spanish GP, drivers on 4 stops were also forced to back off occasionally.

    This is the primary issue that we are having with Pirelli.

    As far as RBR is concerned, we know who they are!

    1. @neelv27
      Alonso was able to flat out throught the race, and never back off…can you fact or prove that Alonso was told to back off ?

      1. After the race Alonso himself said he was driving 90% @nomore

        1. @john-h
          And so what ? what is wrong with that ? The “flat out” can be archived also with 90%…
          do you really think that this is the only year that drivers push with regardless to the tires , engine, fuel, strategy, or whatever ??

          Since 1950-2013 A driver never pushed the hole year 100%. Never

          In Alonso’s case it wasn’t even no need to push 100% since he and Ferrari were too strong…if Raikkonen was close then he probably was going to push 100%.

        2. Sorry, I was under the misconception that “flat-out” meant 100%, seen as you also said he “never backed off”. The 2004 French Schumacher drive was close to 100%.

          Having watched F1 pretty much religiously since 1991, I know they are never driving at 100% but this year the tyres have crossed the line IMHO, and my opinion has nothing to do with it favouring one team over another.

          1. @john-h

            The 2004 French Schumacher drive was close to 100%.

            Can you prove it ?

            if yes i will be more than happy to read the facts.
            if not it is and it will remain an opinion.

          2. Anyone with half a brain would know that laptimes are drastically lower in the race compared to the past due to tires and drivers not pushing as hard. If you knew anything about driving, watching the onboards would give u a great idea how much the current drivers are NOT pushing. Early on the decelerator, late on the throttle. Early upshifts, late downshifts. Feel free to browse youtube for prove. lol

          3. @nomore sadly F1fanatic’s lap charts weren’t available then so I can’t give you every lap time but his fastest lap was a 1:15.377, compared to a 1:13.698 for pole position. In Spain this year the fastest lap was 5.5s slower and Alonso’s fastest lap was a 1:26.681 with a qualifying time of 1:21.218 – 5.463 seconds slower.

            It’s self evident: Alonso wasn’t pushing due to these tyres, Schumacher definitely was. I don’t actually know why you’d try and argue that.

          4. I thought it was well known that Schumacher did 70 quali laps to make that 4-stop work? Do you want the lap times for each lap or something, because you’re obviously not going to take my word for it. I can try and dig them out I guess…

  19. I still think that 4 stops is not the biggest issue, the problem is that the drivers were managing their tyres for most of the time, even with 4 stops and with the harder compounds. I had the impression that if the drivers had pushed as much as Spain 2011, they would’ve ended up doing 6 stops (which they didn’t, because they didn’t have enough tyres).

    Four stops in Span 2011 were too much, but at least there were interesting battles on track. Last sunday we saw 4 stops and driver saving their tyres for most of the time.

    So, no, I don’t agree with the Horse Whisperer, I don’t think it’s a good point, because Spain 2011 and Spain 2013 were quite different. Besides, Red Bull was complaining about the tyres even when they were doing three stops, I think it’s quite stupid to attack them based on the fact that they won Spain 2011 on 4 stops, because that’s not their biggest complain.

    I agree with Boullier, though. Changing such an important factor mid season is not good.

  20. May I ask the Horse Whisperer whether there are any battles on track in 2013 just like they had in 2011??
    There lies the Answer for it. We can see a 4 stop even a 5 stop if Drivers are battling for positions and Fighting for wins not for Free passes and asking teams whether they need to fight or not. The Change was done to minimize the Number Pit stops and to stop the Surprise Delaminations by making them Durable.
    Also from a Team point of View No team concern about Racing each other unless it was really needed. But from a Fan point of View every one wanted to see a battle between big teams and big drivers.

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